Coaches Bring Effort, Focus to All-Poly Camp

Moving from the shadows of Utah's Wasatch Front to the base of Hawaii's Diamond Head crater, Alema Te'o and his staff brought the All-Poly Camp home to the hub of Polynesia where 250-to-300 high school football players received top-notch coaching and educational instruction.

One couldn't ask for anything more. The Hawaiian sun was beating and picturesque Diamond Head provided the backdrop as high school football players took to the field at Kapolei Park in Honolulu.

But before getting to the juicy details about the prospects that shined and how the camp went, the real story of why the camp is such a great success can be summed up by what took place between the various coaches at the Outrigger Reef Hotel in downtown Honolulu.

As the morning Hawaiian tides began to creep up the shore, coaches taking on a more active role with camp organization and quality gathered outside the hotel lobby for a pre-camp review. UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow, Colorado associate head coach Brian Cabral, BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi, Utah defensive coordinator Kalani Sitaki, Oregon State offensive line coach Mike Cavenaugh and Boise State linebacker coach Viliami Tuivai were among those in attendance.

Following a brief discussion of the camp schedule and individual drill station locations, the air got a little thicker as the mood turned even more serious. No, this wasn't about on-field rivalries or past controversial wins. This intense huddle between the coaches was more about focused effort on providing quality coaching for the kids.

"We have to go out there and really coach up every single one of these kids," said Norm Chow. "They have to leave this camp better than they were before no matter what, so let's work our butts off and hustle out there to set the tone."

"First off all, this camp brings experience and wisdom through a lot of coaches that have either grown up here or are connected to this place or with these people," said Viliami Tuivai. "We are here to give them a roadmap of structure and approach on how to help these kids achieve their aspirations in our realm of football."

The feelings among the various All-Poly Camp coaches were unanimous. Brian Cabral, Steve Kaufusi, Kalani Sitaki, and the rest echoed these calls to make this the best experience for those athletes involved. From the first blow of the whistle signaling the start of camp activities on day one, it was all business.

"The All-Poly Camp was great," said BYU commit Graham Rowley. "Learning from the coaches and being able to get that personal coaching from them really helped me out a lot."

Rowley was one of the top performers at the All-Poly Camp. The 6-foot-4-inch, 270-pound defensive end from Waialua High School was virtually unstoppable on the outside. Some of the instruction Rowley received from the coaches at the camp focused on gap-penetration technique, reach blocks and proper use of the hands in a double-team situation.

"The coaches helped me to understand how to better defend against the reach block," said Rowley. "If a player is going to reach block you, I was told how to get past it and how to do it quickly. Some of the things the coaches wanted from me was being able to set myself up to better recognize the reach block and how to then get past it quickly and into position."

During group drills, players were organized by position and sent to various workout stations. Rowley and prospects Samu Fuimaono (offers from Washington, Hawaii and Oregon State, among others) and junior-to-be Handsom Tanielu of Waianae High School received top-notch instruction from Oregon State defensive line coach Joe Seumalo. Coach Seumalo taught camp participants how to effectively attack the gap with a technique that was used by Beaver defensive linemen to defeat USC last year.

"The purpose of this is to teach the kids how to play on the other side of the ball," said Coach Seumalo. "That's basically what this was about."

"I think the highlight of the day for me was being able to use the techniques that I learned from all the coaches out here for my one-on-ones," said Tanielu. "At first some of the coaches wanted to see how I come off the ball. They wanted to see my technique and explosion. Those are some of the things they coached me on and wanted to see more of. They basically all said they like the way I move but they want to see me get rid of the guy in front of me faster. I think I did pretty good out there with what I learned."

This was no Hawaiian picnic. Coaches at the All-Poly Camp put every kid through various drills designed for a specific result. After receiving instruction, the football players were put to the test. Upon success or failure, the coaches would briefly halt the drill to give further instruction to a defensive or offensive lineman on what was good and what needed to be corrected. On four practice fields, Division I and Division II coaches in charge of specific position gave this type of personal instruction and attention to every single camp performer.

"The greatest thing for me as a coach is to see how much these kids change in the short period of time they've been here, just watching the kids grow in terms of how they are at the beginning of the All-Poly Camp to what they become by the end," said Coach Tuivai. "I think it's that way for all the coaches here. Seeing them transition from what they are at the beginning through our focus as coaches and development by the various drills to become better football players so they can reach their potential is what this is all about."


Total Blue Sports Top Stories